The Ten Best Sake For a Taste of Japan

Sake, a versatile drink, is more and more in vogue !

The sake champion: Adatara Ginjo, voted best sake this year at the international wine competition, while Kimoto Hatsumago Densyo, was crowned champion in the Honjozo category. Both are sake with unique flavours that go perfectly with European dishes, which once again confirms the versatility of the japanese drink. Here is a top 3:


Sawaya Matsumoto Shuhari Saido 1292 (Matsumoto Shuzo, Kyoto)


This sake has a vibrant umami, bitterness and acidity. Ideal with red meat, such as grilled beef or tuna sushi.


Daigo No Shizuku (Terada Honke, Chiba)


This sake is sweet and very acidic. It is an unfiltered sake whose water is not added after the brewing process. It goes perfectly with cheese or cream sauce.


Matsunotsukasa Daiginjyo Jyunmai Shizuku 2008

This sake is removed from the purée without pressing it, so its taste is very elegant. Aging also gives it a smooth and round texture, and its aroma is surprisingly intense. Serve with sashimi, snapper, scallop or octopus.


Isojiman Daiginjyo Jyunmai Yamadanishiki Emerald bottle (Isojiman Shuzou, Shizuoka)

This sake also uses top quality Yamada Nishiki rice. It combines notes of white peach and melon, with clear aromas. To be served with sushi.

Tengumai Jyunmai Daiginjyo 50 (Shata Shuzo, Ishikawa)

This is considered a Sou-shu sake, but in terms of flavor, more like a Jyun-shu. It is not highly filtered, giving it a good complexity. Ideal with sashimi or grilled fish.

Houraisen, Kuu (Sekiya Jyouzou, Aichi)

This Kun-shu or aromatic sake is made with Yamada Nishiki rice from Hyogo and Tokushima prefectures. It is aged for one year at a temperature of 10 to 12 degrees Celsius in order to bring out a complexity of flavours. To be served with a white fish sashimi or grilled river fish.

Izumibashi Kimoto Kurotonbo (Izumibashi Shuzou, Kanagawa)

This sake is made according to the Kimoto method, using indigenous bacteria to bring out its complexity and to express the terroir. After two years of ageing, it has a clear impression with umami. Enjoy it with fish or smoked meat.

Hizoukoshu, Ohmon Ginjyo Genshu (Ichishima Shuzou, Niigata)

Brewed in 2000, the long ageing process has given this sake its amber colour and its original hazelnut and chocolate flavour! It is highly alcoholic because no water has been added (20%). Drink it either as a digestive or with aged cheeses.

Sawahime Prototype Jyunmai Gold (Inoue Seikichi Shoten, Tochigi)

Made according to the traditional Kimoto method, 15% of the rice is polished (removed) to bring out the bold flavour of the umami. Its sweet taste allows it to be enjoyed with spicy dishes, crab with chilli and Chinese spicy dishes or with foie gras.

Jyunmai Daiginjyo Komyo (Tatenokawa Shuzo, Yamagata)

New since October, its use of rice polished to only 1% has had a huge impact on the sake industry and has attracted the attention of sake connoisseurs. It is very sweet with a light aroma of white flowers and rice flour. Best served with a red snapper carpaccio or beef dishes.



Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.